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Easy Chana Masala

Easy Chana Masala - a satisfying and flavorful meal made with tender chickpeas, smothered in a spicy, tomato-based sauce. This meal is easy to whip up and comes together quickly! 
Course Entree
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5 people
Calories 416kcal



  • 2.5 tablespoons coconut oil (or preferred oil)
  • 1 medium onion , finely diced
  • 1 small serrano pepper , finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 5 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger , grated (sub with paste)
  • 1.5 teaspoons garam masala , divided
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika , sub regular
  • 1.5 cups tomato purée , jarred/canned (not sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt , divided (more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar (or any sweetener)
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth , low sodium
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas , rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice , freshly squeezed
  • 1/3 cup cilantro , chopped

Optional Serving ideas:

  • Lemon wedges
  • Fresh-cut cilantro
  • Rice (about 3 cups cooked)
  • Naan


  • In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, turmeric, smoked paprika, and only 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and serrano pepper. Sauté until softened and onions are lightly golden. About 4-6 minutes.
  • Lower heat one notch and add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add the spice mixture and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add tomato purée, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a mild to moderate simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes until it thickens up. Stir often to prevent sticking or burning. 
  • Now add the broth, chickpeas and remaining salt. Cover with a lid but slightly offset it on the pan to release steam. Raise the heat to get things moving, then lower the heat to maintain a mild simmer. Stir occasionally. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the liquid reduces and has a stew-like consistency (or desired consistency). (If you want it thicker, you can mash some chickpeas with a potato masher and stir).
  • Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, cilantro, and remaining garam masala. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. Top over rice and serve with naan, lemon wedges, and cut cilantro if desired. Enjoy!


Flavor enhancing ideas: 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, cinnamon, or cayenne pepper. Add to the pan with the spice mixture.
To make this kid-friendly, you can omit the peppers and reduce the cumin and garam masala. 
For more heat, add 1 more small serrano pepper. To reduce the heat slightly, you can remove all or some of the seeds. Also, you can use jalapeños because they have less heat than serrano peppers. If you don't have peppers on hand, you can replace them with 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. 
You can replace the tomato purée with the same amount of freshly puréed tomatoes. When I use fresh, I usually add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste when the ginger and garlic go into the pan to add more depth of flavor. Diced tomatoes can be used to replace the purée too (1 - 14.5-ounce can). 
If you'd like a creamier consistency, add a dollop of unsweetened non-dairy yogurt or a few splashes of unsweetened canned coconut milk. This will also help reduce the heat if it's too spicy for you. 
* Nutritional info doesn't include rice or naan. 


Calories: 416kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 464mg | Sugar: 16g